Ennis Councillor Mary Howard is seeking stricter penalties for anyone who damages lifesaving defibrillators.
“Last December we saw CCTV footage of a group of 16 year olds in Arklow in Co Wicklow pull a defibrillator off of a wall and proceed to kick it back and forth destroying the unit. In January a defibrillator was destroyed in Cork for the 4th time! The list goes on. These lifesaving devises cost in the region of €2,500 to be replaced,” she said.
Cllr Howard has requested that the Minister for Health require all future publicly accessible defibrillators to be fitted with a sensor that will notify the emergency services when the defibrillator is removed from its holder.
The majority of defibrillators have been provided by local committees of volunteers who ran fundraising events in order to raise the necessary funds.
An AED or an Automated External Defibrillator is a light weight portable devise that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart. The shock can stop an irregular heart rhythm and allow a normal rhythm to resume following sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest is an abrupt loss of heart function and if not treated within minutes, it quickly leads to death, Cllr Howard explained.
“In the future I would like to see these units fitted with a SIM module and internal camera, that when the cabinet is tampered with or opened the camera will take a picture and SIM module will then email the picture to whomever is looking after the unit or the emergency services.
I also believe stricter penalties should be imposed on those who damage and interfere with defibrillators similar to those penalties for interfering with a lifebuoy which include a large fine and / or a significant custodial sentence” Cllr Howard added.